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‘Excellent work’ of nurses must be recognised, says CNO

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Nurses must recognise the excellent work they do amid all the negative stories that appear in the national media, the chief nursing officer for England has said.

“It is vital that we recognise and acknowledge excellence,” said Jane Cummings in a speech at the 2015 Nursing Times awards last night.

“It is vital that we recognise and acknowledge excellence. Too often we hear the bad stories”

Jane Cummings

“Too often we hear the bad stories and, while we must be open and transparent about mistakes, it is vital that we learn from them, improve and, most importantly, talk about what is done well, share each other’s success stories and take pride in our profession, what we stand for and the impact we have every day,” she said.

Ms Cummings said the awards demonstrated “the scale and depth of the great work undertaken by nurses and midwives throughout the UK”.

“We as a profession consistently demonstrate the vitality and importance of what we do, both as individuals and as teams,” the CNO said.

“Recognition of our unique role is seen every day in the smile of a patient, the thanks of a relative, the support of a local community or feedback in a survey,” she said. “There are no areas of life that we are not involved in.”

Ms Cummings acknowledged that the past 12 months had “undoubtedly brought challenges and pressures” for nurses.

However, she insisted there was “also much that we can be proud of”, citing the go-ahead for revalidation to start next April and Health Education England’s return to practice programme.

She said the Nursing Times Awards were important because they showed nurses “the steps forward we make every year in terms of learning and improving”.

“We can and should set an example to other professions in terms of how we learn from each other, support each other, understand each other’s pressures and work towards solutions that benefit patients and their families,” she said.

“This is becoming increasingly important as we are working more with other clinical professionals in multi-disciplinary teams to deliver the care people need whilst, at the same time, our roles are growing and changing,” said the CNO at the event at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

”The year since we last met for these awards has undoubtedly brought challenges and pressures, but also much that we can be proud of”

Jane Cummings

She added: “At the same time we also need to attend to our own health and well-being, physical and mental, and that of our colleagues.”

Ms Cummings also noted the recent centenary of the execution of Edith Cavell in Belgium during the First World War, the nurse famed for treating soldiers on both sides as well as helping allied prisoners escape.

The CNO suggested that “in her own way”, Ms Cavell had been “living out the 6Cs” – the six nursing qualities enshrined in the national nursing strategy.

“Her unrelenting focus on compassionate care is as important now as it was then,” said Ms Cummings.

“It is what drives us on to do all that we can, to keep improving, and is at the heart of what we celebrate this evening,” she said.

The annual Nursing Times Awards were presented last night at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Download our brochure to find out who else won an award.


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